Channel Islands National Park
About the Park
Close to the California mainland, Channel Islands National Park encompasses five islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara) and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. Isolation over thousands of years has created unique animals, plants, and archeological resources found nowhere else on Earth and has helped preserve a place where visitors can experience coastal southern California as it once was. While the mainland visitor centers in Ventura and Santa Barbara are readily accessible by car or public transportation, the islands are only accessible by park concessionaire boats and planes or private boat.
Climate change presents significant risks and challenges to the National Park Service and specifically to Channel Islands. Scientists cannot predict with certainty the general severity of climate change nor its impacts. Average global temperatures on the Earth’s surface have increased about 1.1°F since the late 19th century, and the 10 warmest years of the 20th century all occurred in the last 15 years.
Although climate change is a global phenomenon, it manifests differently depending on regional and local factors. Climate change is expected to result in many changes to the southern California region and Channel Islands National Park in particular. Some of these changes are already occurring. Climate change is expected to affect the park’s weather, resources (e.g., shorelines, ocean chemistry, vegetation, wildlife, historic structures), facilities (e.g., roads, piers), and visitor experiences on the islands.
The high number of endemic species on the Channel Islands, by definition of limited distribution and small population size, may be particularly vulnerable to altered climates. These changes will have direct implications on resource management and park operations, and on the way visitors use and experience the park. Climate change is expected to increase ocean acidity and water temperatures. Climate change is likely to alter marine currents, upwelling, nutrient availability, and the productivity and distribution of marine species.
Climate change also may affect cultural resources. For example, higher sea levels could increase erosion of archeological resources near the shorelines of the islands. Although historic structures and cultural landscape features are currently at some risk from wildland fires and storm damage, these risks could potentially increase as climate change intensifies the severity of fires and storms.This Action Plan identifies steps that Channel Islands can undertake to reduce GHG emissions that mitigate its impact on climate change. The plan presents the Park’s emission reduction goals, and associated reduction actions to achieve the Park’s goals. While the plan provides a framework needed to meet the park’s emission reduction, it is not intended to provide detailed instructions on how to implement each of the proposed measures. The Park’s Environmental Management System (EMS) will describe priorities and details to implement these actions.
GHG emissions result from the combustion of fossil fuels for transportation and energy (e.g., boats, boilers, electricity generation), the decomposition of waste and other organic matter, and the volatilization or release of gases from various other sources (e.g., fertilizers and refrigerants).
In 2007, GHG emissions within Channel Islands totaled 1,297 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E). This includes emissions from park and concessioner operations and visitor activities, including vehicle and vessel use within the park. The largest emission sector for Channel Islands is Transportation, totaling 1,038 MTCO2E . Emissions from park operations (e.g., park buildings and vehicles) totaled 661 MTCO2E.
The graph below, taken from our Climate Action Plan, shows our baseline emissions in 2007 broken down into sectors, including visitor travel.
Channel Islands National Park aims to:
- Reduce 2007 energy GHG emissions from park operations by 10 percent by 2016.
- Reduce 2007 transportation GHG emissions from park operations by 10 percent by 2016.
- Reduce 2007 waste GHG emissions from park operations by 10 percent by 2016.
- Reduce total 2007 park GHG emissions, including concessioners, by 10 percent by 2016.
To read more about what we are doing at the Channel Islands National Park about climate change, check out our Action Plan!